Alice Gross, 14, was last seen on August 28, leaving her home. On Tuesday, Gross’ body was found wrapped in plastic and weighed down with heavy logs in west London’s River Brent.
Police officers wanted to question 41-year-old Arnis Zalkalns after Alice Gross’ disappearance, but he had gone missing. He was seen biking along the Grand Union Canal roughly 15 minutes after Alice Gross had been spotted there.
Since he went missing, Zalkalns hadn’t been back home or in contact with his wife and child at all. He left his passport behind, leaving authorities to believe that Gross’ suspected killer was still in Britain.
The last place he was seen was in Isleworth, west London, at an ATM.
Alice Gross supporters were furious to find out that Arnis Zalkalns was allowed to immigrate to the area considering his history as a criminal. Zalkalns had one murder conviction under his belt when he moved to Britain and was arrested again in London on suspicion of assaulting another 14-year-old girl.
On Saturday, a body was found in Boston Manor Park, west London, roughly 1 mile away from where Alice Gross was found.
Scotland Yard issued a statement.
“Although no formal identification has been made, early indications suggest the body may be that of Arnis Zalkalns. We have updated his partner and a family liaison officer is supporting her. Due to the nature of the surrounding area, specialist resources will be required to assist with the recovery of the body, which will not take place until Sunday.”
Metropolitan police added, “although Arnis Zalkalns had been identified as a suspect in the Alice Gross murder investigation, enquiries continue to establish the full circumstances surrounding this crime. Officers are still searching for evidence, and once again appeal to the public for any information that could assist them.”
When any child is murdered, their community mourns right alongside those they leave behind. After Alice Gross‘ body was found, her parents said.
“We have been left completely devastated by the recent developments and it is difficult to comprehend that our sweet and beautiful daughter was the victim of a terrible crime. Why anyone would want to hurt her is something that we are struggling to come to terms with. Alice was a loving and much-loved daughter and sister, a quirky live spark of a girl, beautiful inside and out.”
Alice Gross’ disappearance prompted an enormous police operation. If the body that was found on Saturday is determined to be Arnis Zalkalns, that operation may officially be over.
[ Image courtesy of The Telegraph ]